Saturday Night Fever

Saturday - 7.3.10 (Wendy Rogell)

Saturday night – there’s no other portion of the week that conjures up such images of spontaneous adventure and good times. And there is no other adventure and good time quite like Phish. Putting these two concepts together, you’ve got “Saturday Night Phish,” a party like none other. In this modern era, Phish has established their own way of musically celebrating their Saturday night shows by opening the second set with Velvet Underground’s “Rock and Roll.” A trend that began in ’09 has held true for all four Saturday’s of 2010, giving even the most spun tour kid a weekly reference point. A cycle that began as a bit formulaic last year turned comedic this summer with each subsequent weekend . But as one of the band’s preeminent jam vehicles of this eras, “Rock and Roll” delivers eventful excursions more often than not. Once the band climbs out of the song’s rock stylings, anything goes when Phish breaks structure. Looking back on the four Saturday’s of Leg I, here are short capsules of the versions that that kicked off each second half.


6.12 II – Blossom

6.12- Blossom (Peek Photo.)

Phish launched into the first Saturday night of tour with their popular jam vehicle, and as they entered the “Cuyahoga Jam,” the band started to breakdown the piece into percussive grooves, a la 2009. Mike thumped a stop-start bass line that underlined the unique rhythm, while Trey spray-painted the groove with shorter patterns. As Fish held down a sparse breakbeat and Page backed the jam with layers of effect, all in all, the onset of this piece didn’t veer far from the many versions that speckled ’09. But as Trey began to solo out of these tendencies, Mike jumped aboard, beginning to differentiate Blossom’ s outing. At this juncture the jam grew far more abstract, as the band molded a segment of musical silk before morphing into a collective wall of sound. Trey reprised his solo melody over this drone canvas, providing closure to the jam before rolling into “Harry Hood.”



6.19 II –  SPAC

SPAC (H.Radar)

Instead of dropping into a series of hackneyed rhythmic grooves, Phish built out of SPAC’s “Rock and Roll” into a bass-led psychedelia. The band latched onto Mike’s lines, as Trey mixed in a repetitive lick that led the band deep into the forest right away. Wasting little post-rock time, Phish quickly swam into a sparkling steam of melody, infusing the jam with an early dose of aural beauty. The piece increased in tempo as Mike drove the troops’ wild ride into darkness. Trey continued to offer cyclical, multi-note cries, in melodic support of a staggering soundscape created by Mike, Fish and Page. Towards the latter part of the jam, the band alternated between louder and softer as if someone was turning up and down the volume knob of the jam. Trey continued his role as supporting actor in this escapade, adding his piece to a more complex overall puzzle. The band descended into an abstract pond before splashing into “Free.”



6.26 II – Merriweather Post

6.26.10 - Merriweather (Graham .Lucas)

While Merriweather’s second night presented the tightest set of Leg I, on Saturday night in Columbia, Maryland, Phish served up a jam that, arguably, surpassed anything from the weekend. In this set-opening “Rock and Roll,” Phish dove off a cliff, floating into the sky in a floral-ambient groove of bliss. Knitting some of the most transcendental music of summer, Trey and Mike spun their ideas together with sublime cooperation. As this segment progressed, Trey soloed as if he was emotively narrating a story to an innocent child. The band provided a magical, amoeba-like backdrop to this musical fable, morphing the jam into a soulful piece of spirituality. Concluding his tale, Trey came growling out of this hovering abstraction with leads that implored his bandmates to follow. Together they built dramatic whole-band tension throughout the latter half of the piece. Trey eventually layed down a slick “Moby-Disk-esque” line, and the band fell into a sinister groove session to bring their mission back to earth. Coming to an organic end, Phish bled into a brief, bass-led ambiance that hinted at “2001” before revving  up the beginning of “Free.” Out of the four “Rock and Rolls” this summer, no other version even comes close; and this Merriweather rendition must be thrown in the ring for any discussion about the jam of Leg I.



7.3 II- Alpharetta

7.3.10 (W.Rogell)

After dropping two stellar jams over the past two weekends out of the Velvet Underground cover, when Phish charged up the anthem to open up Saturday, July 3, it wasn’t far fetched to expect something big for the song’s tour finale. Though once the band got going, they simply rode the song’s theme, juicing it for all it was worth. Phish never even veered far enough from the original for LivePhish to label an “Alpharetta Jam,” something done to avoid paying royalties on original  improvisation. With expressive rock soloing, Trey barreled through the straight forward jam that only broke form for a moment before moving into a pre-mature “Prince Caspian.”



Jam of the Day:

Reba” 6.11 I

A gorgeous rendition from summer’s opening set.




7.1.2010 Walnut Creek Amphitheatre, Raleigh, NC < Torrent

7.1.2010 Walnut Creek Amphitheatre, Raleigh, NC < Megaupload

Official Raleigh Poster

Raleigh featured a bumpy setlist that featured some big-time bust-outs and one of the deepest dives of summer in the centerpiece version of “Light.”

I: Llama, Roses Are Free, Kill Devil Falls, Time Loves a Hero, Alaska, Water in the Sky, Runaway Jim, The Moma Dance, Divided Sky, Cavern

II: Backwards Down the Number Line, Halley’s Comet > Light, Fluffhead, Have Mercy, Light Up Or Leave Me Alone > Free, Wading in the Velvet Sea, The Squirming Coil, Suzy Greenberg

E: Boogie On Reggae Woman

Source: Schoeps mk41> KC5> M222> NT222> EAA PSP-2> SD 722 (@24bit/96kHz)

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837 Responses to “Saturday Night Fever”

  1. Bad Nirvana Cover Band Says:

    oh great, Robear is Lycan?

  2. Mr.Miner Says:

    or does aw just have 6 names?

  3. zzyzx Says:

    I just wish I could hear the show again. I know a few things about it and someone reviewed it for the Bard Observer so there are a few more facts, but no one taped the damn thing, not even the band. For all I know I saw an Alumni and had no clue.

    I do know that the show started I Didn’t Know> YEM and there was a Reba – probably the old arrangement – and there was also a Forbin’s in that second set…

  4. Robear Says:

    zzyzx, layin’ down the roots for us. good stuff. 🙂

  5. Lycanthropist Says:

    i think its about time to sort this out..

    any objections?

  6. garretc Says:

    Little known fact:

    AW/poopy g/bouncin fan is also Mr. Miner!!!

    I’ll pause for a bit while y’all collect the pieces of your mind that just got blown all over the place…

  7. zzyzx Says:

    My favorite song chaser moment. I just moved to Seattle in 1995 and was messing around in the cardboard box that had a bunch of CDs when I found my set list from 5/10/90.

    I noticed it ended, “* Whip.”

    I looked at it for a few seconds and then jumped around the room a bit. “I SAW A WHIPPING POST!” Heh, what a weird thing to get excited about 5 years later.

  8. Mr.Palmer Says:

    whose the sign guy?

    whose ned?

    who am i?

  9. Robear Says:

    i thought miner was ‘Wook in sheep’s clothing’?

  10. Lycanthropist Says:

    i thought miner was ned

  11. Moby Dick Says:

    I thought Lycan was ned.

  12. Mr.Palmer Says:

    ned’s dead baby

  13. BrandonKayda Says:

    Ned was slashed with a samari sword, if I remember correctly. I never did figure out what was in that damn suitcase 😉

    I thought Moby was Lycan.

    No way.

  14. KWL Says:

    pass the milk duds

  15. Mr.Miner Says:

    get outta here folks…who’s on first.

  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I actually came up with what for me would be a perfect alter ego handle during the dwd jam at Hartford. You know how it is in those moments where the music allows you to open your thoughts and you are creating in a way like the band? Well, as soon as I realized it, it was over. And then it was gone. Poof. No idea what it was. I just know that I had it and then it was gone.

  17. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Miner’s list of the best phish shows ever is in the suitcase

  18. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    THe last three pages have proven to be witty entertaining banter.

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    @phamily b
    Here. Have some popcorn. KWL has the milk duds.

  20. BrandonKayda Says:

    Just started up 1997.11.22 Mike’s Song – haven’t heard this Groove’ in awhile – used to be played almost daily. Pumped.

  21. Mr.Miner Says:

    lol @ t III. what were accepted theories of that? some form of God? interesting…its always all about the light….

  22. Mr.Palmer Says:

    anyone else think its coincidence that AW gets the boot from 12.28.09 during Makisupa and then this occurs? I think not!

  23. Gavinsdad Says:

    Flarr = Vegas wolfmans
    robear = bncb
    lycan = moby
    aw = bouncin and poop g
    Nedboy = dickhead

    forgetting the others. This is a great, and bizarre board

  24. KWL Says:

    gd pretty much nailed it all down there, huh

    did SOAM really say the words ‘have a great day’ earlier?? someone clearly hacked his account

  25. CurtKobane Says:


    Ned = Dick head

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